Thursday, February 18, 2010

Florence + The Machine & The XX @ Esplanade Theatre SG, 07.02.10

Headed down south to catch Florence + Machine and The XX live a week before Lunar New Year.

I was very impressed by The XX's laidback and effortless performance. Many people may argue they lacked showmanship, but they made addictive music out of such bare melodies and simple instrumentation, which somehow made me wanted to hear more. "Less is more" is best to describe The XX!

Florence + The Machine, on the other hand, was a total opposite of The XX, her performance was full of energy and constant interactions with the crowd. Everyone at the venue was so blown away by her powerhouse vocals and bubbly attitude, and started to dance and jump around in the theatre. Highlight of the night was when she borrowed a polaroid camera to snap photograph of the happy fans.

Two contrastly different bands but equally awesome live.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Big Echo

'Talking Through Tin Cans', the morning benders' debut was probably the most underrated album of 2008. I have been hooked to this young Berkeley indie pop quartet since the days of their amazing EPs 'Loose Change' and 'Boarded Doors'. The band is back with their sophomore 'Big Echo' out on March 9th, and with Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor as the producer, I believe the morning benders will finally get the attention they truly deserve.
'Big Echo' is as apt as it can get for the band's latest effort, it is made to be played loud and linger in your ears even after the audio goes off. Grizzly Bear-ish vocal harmonies are heard in the album but the band did not stray too much fron their brand of youthful rock that channels classic sound like The Beatles with endearing melodies. Boys I am impressed. If you have not heard of these boys, 'Big Echo' is definitely a great point to start with.

the morning benders -
the morning benders -
Wet Cement
the morning benders -
Crying (Roy Orbison cover)

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

St. Jerome's Laneway Festival @ Perth Cultural Center, Northbridge 06.02.2010

Northbridge was alive last Saturday, with the Cultural Centre fenced up for the 2010 Laneway Festival. Volunteering at the gate for few hours and free entrance to the festival after that? Sounds like a good deal to me.

After a hard's day work, it was off to PICA stage to catch Wild Beasts. The band amazed all with their dreamy sound. Hayden Thorpe's countererenor high pitched voice took over the stage perfectly, with Tom Fleming provided a deep vocal at times as well. Tracks played were mostly from the highly acclaimed 'Two Dancers', including 'The Fun Powder Plot', 'All the King's Men' and 'We Still Got the Taste Dancin' on Our Tongues'. I was made a fan on the spot.

On my way to the TAFE stage, there was a massive crowd going to the opposite direction, they were all bailing out to see the newly crowned triple j's Hottest 100 winner Mumford & Sons. It was a shame that I missed them but instead of catching them far away with such a massive crowd, I chose to go for the less known Hockey, and oh boy it was indeed a great decision. The band performed a tight set with funky bass lines, keyboards and electric guitar strum perfectly matched the lead singer’s smooth vocals. Two of their most recognisable and climactic tunes, Too Fake and Song Awat were played with tremendous energy and saw Hockey’s front man Ben Grubin energetically dancing around the stage.

Walking back to PICA stage, Daniel Johnston placed his book of lyrics and played an amazing set of acoustic guitar tracks. I had to admit that I never really heard of his songs before but it was nevertheless a great performance. Highlight of the set was when he played a cover of John Lennon's 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' where everyone sang along joyously.

Up next was The XX, emerging from backstage with their right mix of cool, careless and alternative dreamscapes, with Islands and Crystalised being notable crowd favourites. Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s whispered vocals are as sexy as it gets, and they finished it off with Sim’s climatic and energetic cymbal solo.

At the main Museum Stage, headliner Florence + The Machine took the stage with all leg, hair and impressive vocals. Drawing the biggest crowd of the day, it was so squashy that I decided to leave just after 5 songs. Bad decision you might say? Well certainly not. Back at PICA, Sarah Blasko joined onstage with Dappled Cities to perform the infectious The Price, which I enjoyed thoroughly.

Closing out the show at PICA, Black Lips brought Laneway to a jagged flower punk end. The band roared their way fast, solid and tight through the likes of O Katrina, Cold hands, Veni Vedi Vici and Bad Kids. Florence Welch was behind the stage and the band members went to hug her in the middle of their set, which was pretty hillarious and random. There was no short of drunken antics as well, with bandmates kissin' each other, playing baseball with beer can and guitar and groupies on stage flashin'. Insane set indeed.

I was smiling my way troughout the festival. Such intimate performances, without the usual bogans and idiots that annoy the hell out of me. One of the great festivals I have been to.

Wild Beasts - All The Kings Men
Hockey - Song Away
Black Lips - Bad Kid

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Big Day Out @ Claremont Showgrounds, Perth, 31.01.2010

Heat was scorching on this summer day but it did not deter 40,000 punters from enjoying themselves in the Australia's biggest music festival, Big Day Out. The fantastic music lineups were enough to take the mind off all things skin-singeing.

The first band I saw was Miami Horror at the Green Stage. It was the third time I've seen these guys and they managed to deliver a tight and vibrant set, without the drunkards who ruined the Melbourne gig few months ago. Lead singer Josh Moriarty was spotted with a new hairdo, strutting his guitar and doing his signature dancemoves in between tracks. Heading to the main stages, dressed in matching golden onesies, Bluejuice had the early bird warming up at the Blue Stage with their catchy chorus of Broken Leg and Vitriol and some random inflatable animals.

Staying at the main stage for two bands I wasn't interested in, Kasabian was up next. They were one of the biggest early international drawcards, with a massive crowd turning out and bleating along with front man Tom Meighan. The band exploded with Vlad the Impaler and received a glowing reception which was sincerely appreciated by the band. A solid set highlighted the band's class, which also included Where Did All The Love Go? and old favorite LSF and Processed Beats.

Up next at the Converse Essential Stage was Passion Pit. Due the hype of their album Manners, it was no surprise that the indoor stage was packed with ease. The band’s name aptly described the massive crowd jumping and dancing to a jaw dropping performance including the likes of Sleepyhead and Little Secrets. While Michael Angelakos failed to reach some parts of the high pitch, it was more than compensated by the amazing sing-alongs from everyone.

Remaining at the same stage, The Horrors, dressed mostly in black, came on and performed almost every track from their new album. With a sophomore album that drastically improves upon its predecessor, The Horrors have done it with considerable intelligence and style to spare at the point where goth, post-punk, and shoegaze met. I wasn't disappointed by the lack of older material like many of the fans did as I was just gettin into them recently.

Devendra Banhart only managed to earn an embarrasingly small crowd for someone of his calibre. I bet everyone was going to catch the bigger acts of Lily Allen and Calvin Harris, which was fine by me as I could get up close to the stage. The singer songwriter led his band through a joyous set of reggae, Spanish guitar and folk which includes Baby, Searhorse and 16th & Valencia Roxy Music. I Feel Just Like A Child was performed last and Devendra jumped off the stage and rubbed hands with the crowd.

Jet was better than expected at The Green Stage, they really are a decent good old fashioned rock 'n' roll band. Without any pretence they rocked the crowd with crowd favourties "Are you Gonna Be My Girl?" and "Cold Hard Bitch", as well as newer materials of "She's A Genius" and many more.

Following a break to satify growling stomach, it was back to the main stage where the D barrier was already filled so I had no chance but to watch from far. Powderfinger played a solid second headliner show, and inspired a well responsed sing along with These Days and My Happiness.

Under the amazing lazers and visual lighting, Muse were quite simply as magnificent as you could’ve hoped for. Each track was accompanied immense visual on the background. Playing through their huge back catalogue, the knowledgeable crowd lapped up everything from classic anthems like Stockholm Syndrome to the powerful Supermassive Black Hole and recent hits of Uprising and Undisclosed Desires. Nic Cester of Jet joined the band onstage for a cover of ACDC's Back in Black, which was one of the highlights of the set.Encore Knights of Cydonia gave the huge crowd a final sing-along before the band left the stage.

A big day out indeed. Truly satisfied.

The Horrors - Who Can Say
Devendra Banhart - Baby
Kasabian - Where Did All The Love Go?

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